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Easter Hike

posted Apr 1, 2013, 12:56 PM by Justin P
On Easter, I had scheduled a MST hike along the Eno River, continuing the hikes along the MST in the Triangle since finishing the Falls Lake Trail.  Despite the poor forecast and the fact that most of the hikers dropped out, I decided to hike anyway.  Driving to Durham, the rain was pretty heavy and I was having second thoughts about the hike, but by the time I got to West Point on the Eno, the rain had lightened to a drizzle.  I met up with Jim and Kevin and we headed out, crossing the footbridge over the river and hiking off on the MST.  Almost immediately, we came to a stream crossing right at the dam.  Normally, the water level is lower and its easy to rock-hop across, but today the water level was much higher.  We walked up and down the creek and found a board leading mostly across the creek and were able to cross there and continued our hike.  The rain seemed to really bring out the critters.  We saw a couple of toads hanging out in the puddles that had formed on the trail.  And we found a deer skull along the trail and a deer ribcage in the river.  The rain was lightening up and by the time we reached Guess Road, the rain had completely stopped.  Before, we would have had to go up to the street and cross Guess Road, a dangerous crossing, but now there was a path under the bridge and leading up to the road to cross the river on the sidewalk.  A good trail improvement to improve safety, so hikers don't have to play Frogger crossing the road.  Then, we headed into Eno River State Park.  A little ways down the trail, Jim spotted a "red eft", the juvenile stage of an Eastern newt.  He was bright orange in color, with small red spots, and very small.  I got a good picture of him, but I should have put a coin or something in the picture for perspective of how small this guy was.  A little further on, we saw another crossing the trail and heading into a small stream.  We also saw an owl high in a tree along the trail.  Wow, the rain really brought the wildlife out!  We stopped at Pump Station and walked around a bit, checking out the ruins, and resting for a short snack, before making our way back.  Back in West Point, we saw several turkey vultures perched in the trees near the shore.  So what I was worried would end up being a miserable hike in the rain, turned out to be a fantastic hike in pretty decent weather and great wildlife viewing.  Moral of the story - don't give up because of the threat of poor weather; sometimes the bad weather days are the best hikes of all.